Fourteen families have received the keys to their brand-new homes in Habitat’s latest development in Stoke. Twelve of these families are expected to take ownership of their homes after five years of renting them first, thanks to Habitat for Humanity’s Progressive Home Ownership programme. Two families will be part of Habitat Nelson’s affordable rental programme.
“This has given me hope to move forward,” says Tanja, a single mum, who with her son, is one of the 12 families who is a future home-owner of a brand new semi-detached home in Shields Way, Stoke. “As a single mum with a fulltime job, my options with banks were limited. But with the support of Habitat Nelson, I’m finally able to help myself get us out of our living situation and into a safe and healthy home of our own. I still can’t believe it, it feels unreal.” Tanja had been renting a one-bedroom apartment and sharing a bunk bed with her young son until she found out that she had been selected.
Tita and her family of five adds, “This is a huge opportunity for us. We’re not paying somebody else’s mortgage but going to rent to buy our own house. We are so happy the children get to grow up with the stability of their own family home too.” Like many others, Tita and Veni have struggled in Nelson’s competitive rental market.
It’s no secret that buying a home has become an unattainable reality for many New Zealanders, and in Nelson Tasman housing affordability has declined to the third worst in the country. “We understand how hard it is for families to find secure and affordable rental homes, or save for a deposit, and how challenging this is for their wellbeing,” adds Nick Clarke, General Manager of Habitat Nelson.
The dedication of the homes, blessing of the community by Archdeacon Harvey Ruru and handover of keys is the start of these families’ journey to home ownership. Habitat’s vision is that everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat Nelson’s flagship programme Progressive Home Ownership offers security of tenure and affordable rental payments as whānau work towards independent home ownership over a period of approximately 5 -10 years. Nick adds, “It offers a hand up to whānau who have a clear housing need and aspire to home ownership but would be unable to buy a home without some support.“
Part of the dedication on Wednesday 14th June was to officially open the community’s new laneway called “Shields Way”, retaining the legacy of Habitat Nelson’s late founder Julian Shields. Twenty-seven years ago, Julian had a vision that people in Nelson live in warm, dry, quality-built homes that they could afford to buy, and he made it his mission. His legacy lives on in the continued work of Habitat Nelson and the private lane will be a permanent reminder of his courage and warm heart.
These new homes in Stoke are part of Habitat’s rent-to-buy programme called Progressive Home Ownership (PHO). They have been built for Habitat for Humanity Nelson by Tasman Homes using a high-quality construction system, providing warm, dry, healthy homes. The community of 14 homes has been designed to encourage neighbourliness, with communal gardens, shared barbeques, and a children’s play area central to the development.
These homes are not free. Families agree to pay an affordable rent for several years before they l transition to buying their homes from Habitat Nelson. Habitat Nelson then recognises the rent paid by the families (less expenses such as rates and insurance) as a deposit towards the purchase of the home. PHO is viewed as a partnership between “partner families” and Habitat Nelson.
Future homeowners invest time into their home by contributing their time to work such as interior painting, landscaping or supporting the community in other ways.
Chloë Howorth, Business Development Manager at Habitat Nelson adds, “We are so excited to be offering this hand up, thanks to the generous support of our funding partners, including the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Nelson City Council, and the Rātā Foundation, as well as some fantastic local tradies and businesses who have either discounted or donated material or their time. This hand up to these families is so deserved, and we hope it will be just the beginning of great things to come for them.” Habitat Nelson plans to build more homes in Richmond, Wakefield, Stoke, Nelson and Blenheim within the next few years.”